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07/31/2008

Unscrupulous AFA continues unscrupulous practices

by Jeremy Hooper

Q. You know what's probably not the most ethical thing in the world? A. To take someone's photos off the Internet and then repost them in a non-intended, non-newsy, probably non-fair use, demonizing context on your own website, without any attribution or links back to the source material.

Q. You know what else is unethical? A. To use a little girl for your own agenda, even though you can't possibly know anything about the facts of the youngster's life.

So why are we holding this Q& A session? Well, let us explain.

Over on their McDonald's boycott site, the American Family Association has been trying for weeks to demonize McDonald's for supporting San Francisco's 2007 gay pride parade. So in order to "prove" to their followers that the parade was sex-charged and generally un-family, they have posted a series of photos from said event. Here, check out a smaller version of the photostream that they're running:

(Note: Black box over man's genitals is our own. The AFA is actually running these photos, in a much larger form, with the man's penis on full display)
200807310945-1

Okay, so where did the AFA get their "exclusive" pics? Considering that they are acting as if the have firsthand knowledge of what went on at the parade, you might think that they were actually in attendance, right?

Well, you'd be wrong. To put together their little photo album, the AFA has simply pulled the personal photos of three different pro-gay photographers without permission. The first two photos can be found on Shooter.net, the website of SF photographer Stevem. The next seven photos can be found on Basetree.com, the website of photographer Eric Wagner. And as for the sweet pic of the little girl that the AFA uses, in the most exploitative of fashions, to tie it all together? Well that one comes from the personal website of one Stephan Zielinski.

So essentially, the AFA does not have the right or permission to use these photos to decry gay rights. And, in regards to the last one wherein they say this little girl was exposed to everything you see above"? Well, they have absolutely NO CLUE as to the context of the photo, or what the little girl was allowed to see. But that doesn't matter to these folks. When it comes to "protecting children," apparently the AFA has problem plastering a young'uns face on the Internet and making unsubstantiated claims about the little girl's "over-exposed" life!

For shame, AFA.

THE AFA's Photostream: SF Pride Photos [Boycott McDonald's]

The source of photos 1-2: Stevem
The source of photos 3-9: Eric Wagner
The course of photo 10: Stephan Zielinski

**UPDATE:
Okay, now it's getting REALLY ridiculous. The Traditional Values Coalition just put up this photo, the same one shown above (with the addition of a McDonald's logo). Be sure to check out to whom they gave the photo credit:

Picture 1-188

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Your thoughts

Absolutely shameless.
A lawsuit just isn't harsh enough for these liars. Well, maybe a really good, public, embarrassing lawsuit.....

Posted by: JeffRob | Jul 31, 2008 11:06:22 AM

Thanks for finding out about the AFA's blatant plagiarism.

They seem to be firmly lacking in ethics.

Posted by: Tony P | Jul 31, 2008 11:15:14 AM

Well, Jeremy, I never expect either logic, shame, or consistency from FOF, AFA, or any of the associated religitwits.

Similarly, though, (and I'm sure I'll get flack from some for this) I have always failed to see how parading down the street buck naked ever serves to further gay rights. Nudist rights, sure, but . . . I take my niece and nephew lots of places, but I'd never take them to a SF pride parade! To me it's about public decency. I wouldn't want the kids to see anyone, gay or straight, in such displays of dishabille.

Posted by: Jamie | Jul 31, 2008 11:38:08 AM

Jamie: Yea, this sort of thing always comes up when discussing pride parades. It's a valid conversation, and one to which ink is dedicated most every June. But this is about the AFA's tactics (lifted photos, no attribution, the little girl shot) which are just plain out of line.

It should be noted that on all of the photo sites from which these were lifted, many "wholesome" photos can be found.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 31, 2008 11:43:44 AM

And if I might add, there are MANY other places in which pride parades are clean and family oriented (like my home state of South Carolina).

When some gay folks choose to act wild in public, they are put on phony pro-family sites.

When heterosexuals do it, they sell the footage on Girls Gone Wild infommercials.

And we all know that the AFA and Porno Pete have said nary a word about those infommercials.

Posted by: a. mcewen | Jul 31, 2008 12:00:02 PM

Thanks for mentioning that, Jeremy, I've gone to the Chicago Gay Pride Parade for the past 7 years and I have seen a grand total of zero penises. The Pride Parade in Chicago is mostly regular looking people in t-shirts and shorts. Some in tank tops, but mostly people wearing festive versions(brighter colors and accessories) of everyday, summertime, clothing. Of the thousand or so marchers participate in the pride parade, I'd say there's about 20 men in swimsuits, 10 drag queens, and 5 people who should probably own a mirror. Mardi Gras is far more racy.

Did anyone contact the photographers to let them know someone's using their property without permission?

Posted by: Jason D | Jul 31, 2008 12:17:00 PM

To me it's about public decency. I wouldn't want the kids to see anyone, gay or straight, in such displays of dishabille.

I'm with you Jamie. I don't see how it furthers gay rights either. To me, it just gives fuel to the other side that we are just a bunch of perverted, sexual deviants. I'm all for sexual freedom between consenting adults (the number being irrelevant), but that doesn't mean one should walk down the street naked.

Posted by: Stojef | Jul 31, 2008 12:17:45 PM

StJoef: But again, as others are mentioning on here, please don't take the "pro-family" bait that these photos defined the SF Pride parade. There are always characters at events like this. And not only gay pride parades, but ANY sort of parade (look no further than mardi gras). But that is not the solid definition of what this parade was about. If this little girl was on site, it is unfair to suggest that she was gazing at penises all day long.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 31, 2008 12:22:32 PM

AFA violated the 8th commandment? I'm shocked I tell you! Shocked! Bad fundy's - shame on you! /snark

Posted by: EvilPoet | Jul 31, 2008 12:41:20 PM

Oh, I agree with you Jeremy, and didn't mean to change the tone of the conversation. It just irks me, that's all.
Oddly enough, I live in Vermont, a state with some nudist colonies, regular pride parades, and small towns and beaches central to nudist controversies. Yet our pride parades are pretty family friendly. Go figure.

Posted by: Jamie | Jul 31, 2008 1:14:49 PM

I'm glad they (AFA)have the decency to "steal" the pictures from some homosexual affirming website rather than attending theirselves. Who cares what little girl this is. No little girl this age should be exposed to this immoral trash, and if there were no moral issues with homosexual parades we wouldn't be having a conversation about this little girl. Go ahead and sue them, Good Luck on that!

Posted by: | Jul 31, 2008 1:32:19 PM

Anon: Nobody is threatening to sue them. If anything, it would probably just be that they'd have to take the photos down.

Nothing else you said is really worth addressing, with the possible exception of telling you that "theirselves" is not a word.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 31, 2008 1:37:24 PM

(Themselves) Thanks for the grammer lesson

Posted by: | Jul 31, 2008 2:16:29 PM

Shouldn't someone tell them about that commandment they want in every school and courtroom? The not-stealing one?

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | Jul 31, 2008 2:16:55 PM

It is good to be proud that you're gay. But why walk down the street naked or in BSDM leather clothing? This kind of behavior at high profile gay pride parades gives the wrong message about the rest of us :(

But still agree with the news post. The use of the little girl is nothing more than propaganda. If they had just left her out of it, I would have actually agreed that this sort of behavioral display really isn't acceptable in public... at least not in a gay pride parade, which I feel really should be family oriented, to show all, old and young, that being gay isn't a disease, isn't a form of sexual deviancy (but there are often a handful of people who really are working hard to make it seem that way by behaving this way in gay parades)

Posted by: | Jul 31, 2008 2:24:10 PM

Anon at 2:24: Since you comment on this site frequently, I really wish you would pick a non-identifiable handle so we could hold easier discussions. I'm not going to "make" you, of course. But it would be much easier to distinguish you from the other "anon" in this comment thread

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 31, 2008 2:31:43 PM

"please don't take the "pro-family" bait that these photos defined the SF Pride parade."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not taking the bait and I totally agree with what you are saying.

Mardi Gras puts some of these parades to shame. But unfortunately, the reality is that there is a complete double-standard for opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and behavior. Someone in a same-sex relationship could be fired from their job if a coworker showed a picture of them kissing their partner at a pride parade (hell, they could be alone in the picture and just be at the parade for that matter) whereas someone in an opposite-sex relationship who put a photo of themselves kissing their partner at Mardi Gras on their desk at work would hear from their coworkers, "Oh my God Kaitlen! That is such an awesome picture of you and Mike!!" Kaitlen (provided the straight guys in her office found her attractive enough) could probably even discuss (and privately show) pictures of herself flashing her boobs to get more beads.

I just feel that public nudity (or mostly nudity) just hurts our cause more than it helps. It's never going to hurt heterosexuals.

Posted by: stojef | Jul 31, 2008 2:33:39 PM

is there any reason to believe that the picture of the little girl was actually taken at the event? There are absolutely no context clues in that photo. She might have been in some park somewhere for all we know.
and if she were at the event? and if she did see a penis? is this the worst thing that could happen? so she looks at a man and says "what's that?" and mom says "that's a penis. men and little boys have them. women and little girls do not."

Posted by: keltic | Jul 31, 2008 2:44:56 PM

I don't disagree with you, Stojef. I guess I would just be careful about making it seem as if people who choose to act a certain way are guided by some larger gay forces (which is what the "pro-fams" want folks to believe).

The fact is that these parades are made up of thousands upon thousands of free adults. And these parades, like many parades, are quite theatrical. Some of these adults may choose to express themselves in a certain way that you, I, or whoever might find peculiar or even wrong. But I think it's imperative for us to not "take the bait" and make it sound as if these sorts of displays define gay prided parades. It's simply not the case.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 31, 2008 2:47:42 PM

LMAO @ 2:16 "Thanks for the grammer lesson"

Grammar, not "grammer." .

Freaking twit.

Posted by: Jamie | Jul 31, 2008 3:06:04 PM

GreenEyedLilo: Isn't it ironic that an atheist is the one pointing it out? heh.

Posted by: EvilPoet | Jul 31, 2008 3:15:39 PM

keltic: if you go to the source of the photo of the little girl, yes, it is a photo taken at the 2007 San Francisco Pride parade.

That particular photographer has been notified and is, understandably, very angry about it.

Posted by: jupiter9 | Jul 31, 2008 3:40:12 PM

The hubub about whether someone should wear this or that outfit at the parade misses the point. Suggesting that people change or alter their appearance so as to not offend straight people is counter to the point. You're basically saying they are right, "there is something wrong with us." Otherwise why should we cover it up?
Face it, we could have a Parade where every man is in a suit and tie, and every lady in a blouse and floor length skirt and people would still call us perverts. The people who object to who we are don't care what we wear. If it wasn't leather gear, it'd be something else. The people who's minds are open to gay equality aren't usually shut by a little skin.
I seriously don't see what the big deal is (except the naked guy) The other folks have more skin covered than you'd typically see at the beach. Seriously, a guy can wear a speedo on the beach, even a thong, and that's okay. But put him on a float and or maybe add a leather harness and all of a sudden it's "racy"? Perhaps I don't have as many body issues as some people.

Posted by: Jason D | Aug 1, 2008 12:13:05 AM

I don't know what SF Pride is like, but here in Denver we have "family day" and also a youth section. The little girl didn't necessarily see anything questionable. And I agree with those talking about the double standard that exists for Pride events - whether or not you're okay with public displays of kink, it happens at non-gay events (like Mardi Gras), and the straight community doesn't get all up in arms, "oh my god, the gays might think we're perverted." Personally I may be prudish, but I'm not going to lecture someone who isn't about our community's public image. If straights can have bdsm events and kinky displays, then so can we. If you don't like it, don't look. And aren't there public nudity laws that apply to everyone, anyway?

Posted by: Wren | Aug 1, 2008 10:17:23 PM

I was just made aware of this blog entry. I'm the owner of shooter.net. Thank you for alerting me to this illegal use of my photos.

I'll have more to say about this topic later, but for now, here is the email that I just sent to the owner of AFA web site, and the ISP that is hosting their webservers.

-------------------------------------

OrgName: Sungard
OrgID: SUNGAR-4
Address: 210 Automation Way
City: Irondale
StateProv: AL
PostalCode: 35210
Country: US

RTechHandle: JL8213-ARIN
RTechName: Lyvers, Jared
RTechPhone: +1-334-323-8898
RTechEmail: jared@dpsdirect.com


Wildmon, Don billing@optimusmedia.com
450 Main Street
Savannah, Tennessee 38372
United States
(731) 925-1777


You are listed as the contact for netblock: NET-209-16-235-32-1, or the contact for boycottmcdonalds.com, hence you are receiving this notification. Please pass it along to any responsible contacts necessary for immediate action.

I'm the owner of shooter.net, Steve Malik.

One of your customers, American Family Association (via www.boycottmcdonalds.com at 209.16.235.45) has stolen images from my web site: Shooter.net and is serving them up on their page:

http://boycottmcdonalds.com/detail.aspx?id=106

http://boycottmcdonalds.com/uploadedImages/private/sfpride1(1).jpg
http://boycottmcdonalds.com/uploadedImages/private/sfpride6.jpg

The first two photos clearly show a "copyright 2007 shooter.net" watermark. There should be no doubt as to my ownership of the images. AFA is not licensed nor authorized to use these images.

My copyright and usage details are clearly spelled out at:

http://www.shooter.net/index.php/weblog/copyright-notice

I demand that you Immediately cease/prevent the illegal use of my images.

Further, I demand that you retain all web server or application server log files indicating how many times and to whom the images have been served for use in legal action against the AFA to recoup unpaid licensing fees. Be prepared to provide these log files upon being served with a lawfully issued subpoena.

Consider this email (delivery which will be documented by my mailserver logs indicating time/date of delivery to your MTAs), to be followed by certified postal mail, your legal notification that legal action is being considered and any failure to preserve evidence of illegal activity may have legal ramifications to you personally and or your business.

Thank you very much for your prompt attention to this matter.

Steve Malik
Owner: Shooter.net
stevem@shooter.net

Posted by: stevem | Oct 14, 2008 1:05:13 AM

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